Smackdown – February 13, 2018

Smackdown
Date: February 13, 2018
Location: Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, California
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips

It’s another big match tonight, even if the match doesn’t make a ton of sense. Tonight’s main event is Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin with the winner being added to the Fastlane triple threat for the Smackdown World Title, making it a four way. Now why this makes sense when Ziggler vacated the US title and walked off isn’t clear, and I’d be surprised if we get an explanation. Let’s get to it.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

The winner is added to the title match at Fastlane. And there’s no Corbin, as we cut to the back where Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, the previously announced challengers, have beaten Corbin down. They say that’s one down and one to go and head to the ring. Sami goes into the crowd and Kevin comes straight through, meaning the beatdown has Ziggler in early trouble. Corbin comes back out but the numbers are too much for him and it’s Sami and Kevin left standing. No match of course.

Charlotte vs. Sarah Logan

Non-title and Charlotte brings Becky Lynch and Naomi with her as backup. Charlotte can’t power Sarah around to start and actually gets wrestled to the ground in rather short order. That’s enough being in trouble for Charlotte as she kicks Sarah in the face and we take a break. Back with Logan trying some chops, only to be chopped back herself. Corey: “You never headbutt a Samoan and you never chop a Flair.”

Logan shoulders her in the back to take over again though and Charlotte is still in trouble. We hit the quickly broken chinlock until Charlotte comes back with a jumping knee. Logan is right back with a dropkick for two more as Charlotte is actually in some trouble here. Back up and Charlotte misses a big boot, allowing Logan to score with a belly to back suplex for another two. Charlotte manages to score with a backbreaker though and Natural Selection (with Logan nearly doing a headstand on the impact) gives her the pin at 10:23.

Rating: B. This was EXACTLY what Sarah needed as she beat Charlotte up here in what I’m pretty sure what was her first singles match on the main roster. Charlotte was in trouble here and that’s not something that happens to her very often. It’s nice to see someone booked with some intelligence for a change and that’s what they had here. Good stuff all around.

Post match Charlotte says one to go.

Shane McMahon isn’t happy with Daniel Bryan and makes a pair of matches tonight: Owens vs. Corbin and Sami vs. Ziggler. If Corbin and/or Ziggler win, the match could become a fatal four way or a fatal five way. Owens and Zayn are in the match no matter what. Well duh. They added another person to the Raw match so they have to do the same on Smackdown. Again: it’s the same story on both shows, yet somehow the best that thirty writers can come up with.

Video on Seth Rollins at a museum looking at the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Kevin Owens vs. Baron Corbin

The brawl is on to start with Corbin sending Kevin outside and sending him into the barricade, despite holding onto his banged up ribs. Back in and Owens scores with a shot to the ribs, only to get POPPED in the face for his efforts. They’re right back on the floor in short order with Corbin sending him into the barricade again. They head inside for the second time where Corbin’s slide underneath the ropes is cut off with a superkick to the ribs. The backsplash gets two and we take a break.

Back with Owens still on the ribs before grabbing a chinlock. Corbin fights up (perhaps pushed on by the RUSEV DAY chants) and hits a chokebreaker, followed by the slide under the ropes clothesline for two. Owens gets in another shot to the ribs but charges into Deep Six for two more. End of Days is enough to send Corbin to the pay per view at 10:42.

Rating: C. Well you knew that was coming, which is likely what I’ll say when Ziggler is added to the match as well. Corbin was wrestling as a face here and that made for a surprisingly good match. He’s a natural heel and I wouldn’t think a turn is the best idea in the world, but this showed that it wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Quick look at last week’s Top Ten.

Here’s US Champion Bobby Roode for an Open Challenge, though he’d like for the champion to come through the entrance rather than sneaking up on him for an RKO out of nowhere.

US Title: Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton

Roode is defending….but hang on because here’s Jinder Mahal. Jinder brings up Orton being #9 on the Top Ten, which is quite underwhelming. Why isn’t Jinder higher up when he defeated Orton for the title? Mahal stays on the theme by talking about Orton being behind Roode, who has been here six months. Roode wants some respect, which he has for Orton. The RKO takes out the remaining Singh Brother but Mahal hits the Khallas on both of them. No match, which would be the second time that’s happened in about an hour.

Here’s New Day with a table covered in pancakes. Today happens to be Fat Tuesday, aka Pancake Tuesday. In a special moment, Big E. is going to break the world record for most pancakes eaten in eight minutes. This involves shoving pancakes into his face but not actually eating any of them. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable interrupt, mocking New Day for how stupid this whole thing is.

They aren’t cool with New Day doing something so stupid, but Woods reminds them of New Day’s record breaking reign. No one wants to see Benjamin and Gable as champions, but Chad shushes them. Pancakes are thrown on the ground so Big E. demands that NOBODY TOUCH THEIR CAKES!!! Benjamin: “From now on, we’re eating WAFFLES!” Big E. has to be held back and a match is made. I mean, it was announced in the show’s preview but it’s made here too.

New Day vs. Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable

Joined in progress with Chad working on Kofi’s arm before the rolling Liger Kick is good for two. Kofi sends Gable to the floor and dives for the hot tag, only to have Chad pull Big E. from the apron in a great piece of timing. The tag connects a few seconds later though and it’s Big E. cleaning house with the suplexes. The Warrior Splash connects but it’s Gable coming back with Rolling Chaos Theory. Woods offers a distraction though and the referee misses Benjamin getting tagged in. The distraction sets up the Midnight Hour to give New Day the pin at 4:27.

Rating: C. Pancakes live on! I mean, I like both pancakes and waffles so it was kind of a win/win situation here. That being said, I’m not sure I get the point in having Benjamin and Gable getting a win last week to help rebuild them, only to lose to New Day here. The match wasn’t bad, but these teams are kind of spinning their wheels at the moment.

Ziggler says THE EXACT SAME THING HE ALWAYS SAYS, talking about how he’s the best in the world and no one is going to stop him. Good grief go back to hiatus if this is the best you can do after two months off.

The Usos are in what looks like a dark basement but it’s not far enough in the bowels of the building to hide from the words appearing on screen. Speaking of the screen, it suddenly breaks as the Bludgeon Brothers hit a TV with their hammers. I’m really not sure what to make of that but the match should be good.

Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler

Sami hides in the corner to start with Ziggler not being able to take him down. Instead he hits Sami in the head and nails the Stinger Splash in the corner. Zayn is right back up with forearms in the corner and a kick to the face as they’re not exactly speeding through the paces so far. Sami’s top rope dive for the sake of being dropkicked out of the air is dropkicked out of the air and we take a break.

Back with Sami in control until Ziggler’s DDT gets him out of trouble. The Fameasser gets two but Sami crotches him on top for a breather. Sami is right back up with a super exploder suplex (that looked awesome) for two and the shock is apparently. Back up and Sami misses the Helluva Kick, allowing Ziggler to grab the Zig Zag for two of his own. Sami sends him shoulder first into the post and does it again for good measure. Back up and the Helluva Kick is countered with a superkick to send Ziggler to the pay per view at 16:10.

Rating: B-. So Ziggler is back and a face again, just because…he is I guess. If that’s not enough for you, in the span of a week we’ve doubled the amount of challengers for AJ Styles at Fastlane. Why you ask? Well Raw added an extra challenger and it’s not like Smackdown can think of its own ideas. The match was good, with that super exploder looking awesome. Pretty predictable finish aside, it’s a nice main event.

Overall Rating: C+. While Smackdown was a good enough show, it was miles behind Raw this week for a few reasons. Last night’s show featured a string of good to quite good matches, but more importantly the wasn’t as much of a bait and switch. Both end results are kind of terrible, but at least Raw got there with a little more style. I just wasn’t feeling this show for the most part as it felt like the most obvious ending you could have had, especially after last night’s show. I’m getting really tired of the “add another person to a match to make it interesting” style of booking and twice in two nights is a little too much for me.

That being said, this was a solid show with a pair of good matches and a story that at least follows the show’s booking as of late (which doesn’t make the booking good). They’re setting up a lot of stuff for Fastlane which is less than a month away, but the overall direction of the show still isn’t great. In other words: they’re not going to the right place, but they’re taking the right route to get there.

Results

Charlotte b. Sarah Logan – Natural Selection

Baron Corbin b. Kevin Owens – End of Days

New Day b. Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable – Midnight Hour to Gable

Dolph Ziggler b. Sami Zayn – Superkick

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